Performing an oil change in a BMW F800 GS motorcycle is super easy, so don’t bother paying someone else to do it for you. Especially the BMW dealership who will gladly charge you a couple hundred dollars at their convenience. It only takes about 30 minutes, a tad longer if you haven’t done it before.
Secondly, don’t buy the BMW oil change kit which runs about $85, or the BMW oil. It’s all way overpriced. This is what I buy:
I use 20w-50 oil during the hotter summer months, otherwise 15w-40. I also don’t use synthetic, but I have heard others who do without issue. I just wonder about clutch slippage, since it’s a wet clutch. Your call. The “oil” debate is eternal and never ending. Don’t get too wrapped up in it.
How frequently you perform an oil change in the F800 GS is also a topic of eternal debate. If you follow the official manual, it says to do so every 10,000 km (or about 6,200 miles). Some say every 5,000 miles. Others, even fewer. If you came here looking for the end-all answer, sorry. I don’t have it, but I can tell you when I changed my oil at about 6,000 miles, it was black. I now change it around the 5,000 mile mark.
The only nice thing about the BMW oil change kit is that is comes with a new crush washer. These can be difficult to find and may need to special ordered. You can buy a pack online for about $8, plus another $7 for shipping and handling. To be honest, I’ve reused my existing washer many times. I’ve had the bike about 5 years, changed the oil probably 10 times, and changed the crush washer maybe three times. No leaks, ever. Up to you.
Step #1: Oil Change Tools and Supplies
The only tools you’ll need are an Allen Wrench, a Strap wrench for the oil filter (maybe), a rag or paper towels for cleanup, and possibly a few other simple tools if you have a skid plate installed. I happen to have an aftermarket skid plate, so I also need a socket wrench as well. The parts you need are listed above. Again, you might be able to reuse the old crush washer, but if you can find one local, just go ahead and buy it. They are cheap. None of my local stores carry them and they are special order. I ordered a pack of 5 online once, but I lost them in my garage. Ugh.
Step #2: Drain the Old Oil
It’s probably best to leave the bike on the side stand rather than the center stand if you have one. It will help the oil drain. Position the oil drain pan under the bike. Remove the oil pan plug. The first time I performed an oil change, I found out the dealership way over-tightened the bolt. Damn near broke my Allen Wrench trying to get it loose. Once removed, clean the drain plug real good. The plug has a magnet to collect small shards of metal from the oil, so you want to make sure that stuff has been cleaned off. While the oil is draining you can start work on the oil filter.
Step #3: Remove the Old Oil Filter
Using a strap wrench or your hands if possible, remove the old oil filter located below the radiator at the front of the bike. The oil filter is the round object to the left in this picture. It’s sort of difficult to get the strap wrench in place, at least the one I have. Some people jam a screwdriver into it and twist it off, but it seems like that would create a mess. A small amount of oil will drain from the oil filter, so make sure you have a pan in place to collect it. Once the oil stops dripping, sit on the bike and lean it left and right. When you put it back on the kickstand, more oil will come out. Do this a few times. You don’t have to wait for every last drip, though.
Step #4: Install the New Oil Filter
Unwrap the oil K&N oil filter from the packaging. Wet your finger with a small amount of oil (new or old oil is fine) and lube the the entire black rubber gasket around the oil filter shown in the picture to the left. You don’t want to seat the filter dry! If you do, it will be very difficult to remove the filter the next time you change the oil. Screw the oil filter into place. Just make it real tight using hand strength. It threads very easily. If it’s not, make sure you aren’t cross-threading it! Cross-threading is a real bad thing so if you feel any resistance at the beginning, stop and start over.
Step #5: Reinsert the Oil Plug and Brass Ring
Put the new or old small crush washer over the threads of the cleaned oil pan plug. Screw the plug back into the oil pan. Again, be aware of cross-threading issues. Tighten the oil pan plug with about 40 nm of torque. It doesn’t have to be exact, but make sure it’s on tight. There isn’t that much oil pressure that would cause the oil to leak if the bolt isn’t on super-duper tight. But you certainly don’t want it vibrating loose either. Don’t use any lock-tight. It’s not necessary and could make it damn near impossible to remove the next time.
Step #6: Fill with New Oil
If you have a center stand, now is the time to use it. It’s easier to fill the oil when the bike is straight up. Remove the dip stick and insert a funnel. Fill the 800 GS with about 3 quarts of new oil. Reinsert the dip stick. Start the bike to pump oil into the oil filter. Let is run for about 15 seconds. Then turn the bike off and check the oil using the dip stick. Don’t check the oil with the bike on its side stand, though. Use the center stand. Use a rag to wipe away all oil from the drain plug and the filter. It will make it easier to see if you have a leak in the next step.
Step #7: Ride the Bike
Take the bike out for a couple mile test drive. The purpose of the drive is to get the oil moving and to check for leaks. If you have any leaks near the oil filter or oil pan drain plug, make sure you didn’t cross-thread.
If you tightened the drain plug to 40nm and you still have a leak, tightening it more isn’t a good idea. You might need a new plug, a new crush washer (which is why it’s a good idea to get a new one if you can), or worse yet you might need to re-tap the thread (expensive). But it’s better to find out about leaks now rather than when you’re on a long ride!
Step #8: Reinstall the Skid Plate
If you have any after-market products like a skid plate, reinstall them. Don’t do this until you’ve checked for leaks. You may find you have to remove it again to tighten either the oil filter or the oil pan drain plug.